Trump’s Base Digs In Its Heels, Even as Support for Impeachment Grows

A new survey of the country’s cultural and political landscape found that support for impeaching and removing President Trump from office is rising among most Americans, but that Republicans remain almost unanimously opposed, leaving Mr. Trump with a loyal but shrinking core of supporters.

The findings, released on Monday by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan nonprofit based in Washington, also pointed to striking divisions among Republicans themselves, with white evangelical Christians and those who regularly get their information from Fox News forming a distinct and exceedingly devoted base of support for the president — many of whom say that there is virtually nothing he could do to make them lose faith in him.

Ninety-nine percent of white evangelicals and 98 percent of Republicans who rely on Fox News as their primary news source do not believe Mr. Trump should be impeached and removed, the survey found, compared with 94 percent of Republicans over all.

As committed as those Americans are to Mr. Trump, they alone are not enough for him to win re-election next year. And the survey revealed significant defections among some non-Republican constituencies that helped Mr. Trump win in 2016, namely the white working class. This trend is driven by white women without a college degree, 40 percent of whom now say they support impeaching and removing him, compared with 29 percent who said so in mid-September.

Those figures are especially problematic because of the political clout those women have in the Midwestern states that put Mr. Trump over the top in the Electoral College in 2016. That year, the group supported Mr. Trump over Hillary Clinton, 61 percent to 34 percent.

“If you have lost, in the space of a month, 11 points of support from non-college white women,” said Robert P. Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, “that should give President Trump some pause. That’s a big big group, and they matter in the states where Trump has just got to win — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.”

The survey sought to measure key indicators of political polarization in the country by asking Americans about their views on a range of subjects, including immigration and their impressions of the opposing political party, and then accounted for certain environmental factors like where they got their news and how they worshiped.

Some of the greatest disparities were among Republicans. Those who are white evangelical Christians or regular Fox News viewers — and those who are both — differ significantly from other Republicans in the policies they support and in their tolerance for Mr. Trump’s personal conduct.

The opinions of this subset hew closely to Mr. Trump’s positions on immigration, for instance. Both groups, which make up more than a third of the party, are more likely than other Republicans to back Trump administration policies like the separation of migrant families apprehended at the border. And they largely shrug when asked whether they wished he behaved more like a typical president.

When asked whether they believed that immigrants were “invading the country” and replacing its ethnic and cultural background, 78 percent of Republicans who rely on Fox News said yes, compared with 52 percent of Republicans who do not consider the network their main news source.

Among the Republicans who said they wished Mr. Trump’s behavior were more consistent with that of other presidents, only 29 percent were regular Fox News viewers, compared with 60 percent who were not.

“That’s pretty remarkable,” Mr. Jones said, “when you have this one variable that can cause a 10-, 20-, 30-point gap.”

And when the survey asked whether Mr. Trump’s conduct made them more likely or less likely to support him, white evangelicals were the largest bloc of people who said his actions made no difference at all, at 47 percent. A clear majority of Republicans who support the president and watch Fox News, 55 percent, responded that there was virtually nothing he could do to make them stop supporting him.

Though many of the survey’s most striking findings were on the polarization within the Republican Party, there were other signs that the rest of the country was just as divided.

Eighty-two percent of Republicans, for example, believe the Democratic Party has been taken over by socialists. And almost the same percentage of Democrats, 80 percent, said the Republican Party had been taken over by racists.

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